‘My dad burnt my collections to keep me away from music’------Nomoreloss

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Although he was christened Olumuyiwa Osinuga over 30 years ago, the Odogbolu, Ogun State born entertainer has been known as Nomoreloss for a relatively long time. He might not be one to follow the crowd that is why he always just seemed to get things done his own way. Music happens to be the art that brought him to limelight, yet he has his hands in many pies. AMINA BRAI writes.

You always seem to be around La Cache. There are rumours that you partly own the place. (Laughs) Let's just say I plan lot of events around. I have had about four events already and they have all been very very successful. I also voice-train artistes. I produce. I don't do musical videos; so I do more than singing.

You obviously are involved in a myriad of activities. Which did you start doing first?I started rapping first then I decided: 'let me just sing' and every other thing came after that.

Listening to your songs, one will believe that you aren't really down with popular music.The thing is that we are often forced by the commercial essence to come out with a hit track but really, what is a hit track? A hit track is a fad. It would fade. I would rather come out with a timeless piece; a piece that every time you hear it – like love and hate, the ever constant factors of life. Let them say would always be there.

For me, it is a soul thing. I want to die smiling so I have to sing from the heart and I think that is one of the problems I am having. People always say 'why don't you do something fast'? Iyawo Asiko is not fast. It is mid-tempo but it took me about six years. For one, my kind of music is soul music. Afro-soul is what I am trying to sell. I am trying to show that I am African first, then I can convert blues, reggae, jazz, high-life – all the musical influences that I feel within me. I can take them in and bring them out again from my soul as opposed to that from my head. You either identify with my music or don't buy it. I am Nigerian and you have to deal with it.

So what genre of music do you play?All brands of music come first from sound. Now sound has no colour. It has no race. It has no gender. For me, the first thing is I can feel what I am sensing. 'Can I connect'? 'How real is it to me'? If music isn't real to me, then it is not worth singing.

What was the first record you ever bought?I think my first record was Shina Peters' Afro-juju. I think his re-inventing himself is a noble act. I salute his courage and I really like the new album too. I think it is crazy.

What is your 'One proud Nigerian' project all about?It is not just me. I think it would speak to a lot of people to say I am proud to be a Nigerian. Despite the upbringing and going to one of the best schools in Nigeria and getting the chance to mix and meet multinationals, I think the greatest sense of belonging to my country is meeting these people from different countries that would never let you forget where they are from. The average Japanese wants you to know he is Japanese.

The average Mexican...but it is a big shame for me when the Nigerian wants to be other things. It is okay to speak in a foreign accent but the minute you lose respect for your country, you lose the greatest respect for yourself. You need to love yourself. The world over, you see people speaking in French and English that is not their mother tongue, but was brought on by people that were very proud of their own country. I think we should do the same. I learned that in most Universities in America, they are teaching Yoruba as a course. And that's a trip! That is gladdening.

As a teenager, were you ever involved in trouble?Actually, I was more of a bully than being bullied. You would be shocked. I was very small for my class and my age but I realized that bullying people was more than just fists. I matured earlier than most peers. I believed it was a mind game. 'As a man thinketh, so he is'. For me, I believed that my size didn't matter. But the cruelest thing? I think it was when my dad took all my musical stuff and just burnt them. Put yourself in the shoes of a kid who has respect for authority and can't do anything. There is nothing more than looking at your material going down the drain. Coming back from school and realizing that all our rap books, tapes, records; everything was burnt.

How old were you when this happened?About 12, 13.

And how did you react to it?I went berserk after that. I just closed up because for me, music was an outlet for a lot of things. It still is. For me, not being able to connect with my materials really hurt. Instead of breaking me, it just made me a lot stronger. That is the stubborn me.

Are you religious?I would like to say that I believe in God. I have an honest fear of God. I know that God is love and I can't begin to give love if I don't love myself first. I think the first commandment is 'love your neighbour as thyself'. If you look at it, it is almost impossible because we often deny ourselves of some things.

Who was your childhood hero?I think it was Bruce Lee. He was a tiny guy but he had a conviction about who he was. Even from an early age, I could see this guy had a conviction about who he was. It was in tune with his person and he wouldn't let you bully him. I guess it is a rule of martial arts. The last resort, if talking fails, if running fails; then you try self-defense. So for me, he taught me that fighting would be the last option. I will take all the insults and walk away, in most cases run, but if it gets down to it; well....For me, I will be the first to avoid a confrontation, but I think the height of disrespect is when you say to a person to his face: 'I don't respect myself, therefore, I won't respect you'.